I’ve talked with a bunch of teachers and administrators out there who are grappling with adding technology into their classrooms and schools. It’s not an easy thing to do, as we all know, and I find that oftentimes teachers think that once they have technology in their classrooms that it means that EVERYTHING they do with kids needs to use the technology products.
It just isn’t so.
Just because you have an interactive white board (IWB) in your room doesn’t mean that everything you do should be “whole class!” Just because you have clickers doesn’t mean that every time you want to do a formative assessment you need to use them! There are plenty of things that are still done well (and quite possibly better) with our old, low-tech ways of yesteryear.
Need to differentiate your instruction and materials but don’t know how to do small group work with an IWB? Don’t try! You can split your kids into groups and make the IWB one of the stations at which they’ll work. Have your kids out of the classroom for an event or assembly? Needless to say, you’re not bringing your clickers with you. But guess what? Colored construction paper and even (gasp) raised hands can still serve your purpose of taking a quick formative assessment.
Here’s the thing: in theory, adding technology to the classroom is supposed to make it easier to do cool and different things that you can’t really do with low tech approaches. Like surf the internet looking for cool pictures of bugs that you’re studying. Or collecting formative assessment data automatically to be perused later. Or, one of my favorites, to experience a truly customized, adaptive, instructional program that gives me just what I need as a learner. It’s not supposed to give teachers a giant headache as they work hard never to be “caught” using a low-tech approach.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the newest, coolest gadgets for the classroom are awesome. I just ask, on behalf of all of us, that we add a dose of sanity and think about why we are using these tools. And then make sure we’re not adding technology just for technology’s sake. I hope we can all be fine with some things, appropriate things, being done “the old-fashioned way.”
Watch out…I’ll start making my pitch for actual paper books that you can touch and smell. (You book lovers know what I mean!) And now you may throw rotten fruit…
The original of this photo appears on http://www.givekidsgoodschools.com/